I recently wrote about the importance of knowledge transfer in the face of rising retirement and turnover rates in the utilities sector. And yes, it is important to retain the information gathered over the past generation. But it is equally important to have the right person ready to fill their shoes. Which brings us to today’s topic: succession planning. It’s a bit cheesy, but succession planning really is planning for success. A solid succession plan can ensure stability and create continuity in any organization, but the complexity of utilities organizations makes it all the more critical.

Less than half of companies have a formal succession plan?

Succession planning isn’t a new concept, yet many companies aren’t taking advantage of having one in place. According to a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, only 43% of organizations had a formal succession plan in place during 2016. In 2015, that was 34%.

A recent survey by PwC shows that 54% of all global CEOs reported that skills availability posed a threat towards business growth and that those numbers are likely higher for power and utilities. 63% of the responding CEOs said that over the next three years they will invest more to create and foster a skilled workforce. For power and utilities, it is even more important at the executive and senior management levels as an estimated 63.3% of P&U executives were eligible for retirement in 2017, up from 50% in 2016.

The right technology makes the medicine go down.

There are many talent management solutions that can assist with succession planning. Most store employee data (including career history, performance, and skills) in one place and keep the information consistent through real-time updates as personnel changes are made.  Most importantly, the right solution can help to identify high-potential employees and put them on a path with opportunities for growth, development, and promotion.

Dynamics 365 for Talent can automate the process of succession planning. Able to analyze risks, preparedness, and succession scenarios, it can be configured to produce optimized organizational replacement charts. These charts prioritize positions based on risk of needing to be filled and show information about the current position holder and employees from a talent pool which could fill that position. Dynamics 365 for Talent makes use of data visualization tool to help in making insight-driven decisions.

Want to reduce turnover? Help employees help the company.

To help candidates prepare for future promotions, Dynamics 365 for Talent can provide individual skills assessment testing and accurate development plans on an ongoing basis. When combined with training programs, these management systems help to reinforce goals and encourage employees to develop their skills.

Foster self-service and collaboration

  • Enable managers to initiate change—such as requesting employee transitions—without requiring intervention from human resources.
  • Reduce administrative tasks to free up time for more strategic initiatives.

Increase retention with career paths

  • Encourage employees to proactively promote their careers with universal profiles that showcase their skills, and a personalized portal that aligns their competencies with career goals and opportunities.

Elevate performance and feedback

  • Give managers the ability to build high-performance teams.
  • Provide real-time data about their organization, track accomplishments, identify issues, and take immediate action to optimize team impact.

A CareerBuilder survey asked employees what would ultimately entice them to stay with a company, and while increasing salaries and better benefits were the top responses, 35% of employees want increased training and learning opportunities and 21% want increased promotion and specific career paths carved out.

A lack of communication is a contributing factor to the higher turnover rates. Many employees may look elsewhere for better job opportunities simply because they are not aware of the opportunities that exist within the organization. A good idea is to periodically publish a report with the number of employees that are promoted each year. Having a list of all positions and job descriptions allows employees to see what other jobs are potentially available and the qualification requirements. If an employee wants to further their career, have a stake in its direction, see what is expected, and work to achieve their goals.

Ready to learn more?

Succession planning can help utilities gain a better understanding of the personnel requirements needed to move forward. The process can motivate employees and improve retention levels for the company. Overall, having a succession plan is good for both the company and the employees.

Reach out today to learn how Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent can augment operational, CRM and human resource solutions to help your utility be more successful today and into the future.